Rationally speaking …

Matt Ridley, the Rational Optimist, on the IPCC’s latest report …

AR5-WGII, is less frightening than its predecessor seven years ago.

The 2007 report was riddled with errors about Himalayan glaciers, the Amazon rain forest, African agriculture, water shortages and other matters, all of which erred in the direction of alarm …

… It puts the overall cost at less than 2% of GDP for a 2.5 degrees Centigrade  temperature increase during this century. This is vastly less than the much heralded prediction of Lord Stern, who said climate change would cost 5%-20% of world GDP in his influential 2006 report for the British government …

… it appears that in our efforts to combat warming we may have been taking the economic equivalent of chemotherapy for a cold.

The entire article can be found <HERE> and is well worth reading.

We’re part of the union …

Williamson, who ran the HSU as his personal fiefdom from 1995 until 2011, pleaded guilty to several counts of defrauding the union of close to a $1 million and enlisting family and friends to cover up his crimes.

What Williamson has been jailed for was only the tip of the iceberg. He had been defrauding the union for almost two decades.

Michael Williamson, former federal president of the Australian Labor Party, has been sentenced to 7½ years in jail with a five-year non-parole period. Craig Thomson, former ALP member of parliament currently on bail pending an appeal against his conviction for dishonesty, was his protegé at the HSU. You can read more <HERE>.

I wonder if the Obeids will one day join him.

The Salamander effect …

Widespread rapid reductions in body size of adult salamanders in response to climate change.

Nicholas M. Caruso, Michael W. Sears, Dean C. Adams and Karen R. Lips.

From the abstract …

We compared historic and contemporary size measurements in 15 Plethodon species from 102 populations (9450 individuals) and found that six species exhibited significant reductions in body size over 55 years. Biophysical models, accounting for actual changes in moisture and air temperature over that period, showed a 7.1–7.9% increase in metabolic expenditure at three latitudes but showed no change in annual duration of activity. Reduced size was greatest at southern latitudes in regions experiencing the greatest drying and warming.

The biophysical model was a computer model of course which can be summarised thus …

To estimate activity, humid operative temperatures (Teh) were calculated for each minute of the day as:

display math              (1)
display math                                                  (2)

… otherwise known as the salamander equation ! Global warming = smaller salamanders.

The literature is far from unanimous on the effect of warming and drying on salamanders. If you would prefer them to get bigger try this paper instead …

Bruzgul J. E., Long W. & Hadly E. A. BMC Ecol., 5. 7 (2005).  Reported in Nature …

Fossil hunters in Yellowstone National Park have discovered an unusual way to record the effects of climate change. Specimens from the past 3,000 years suggest that salamanders have grown bigger as the climate has warmed, and may continue to change as temperatures rise and lakes dry up.

During development, tiger salamanders (Ambystoma tigrinum) can metamorphose and head for land rather than staying in the water. And warmer climes have made salamanders on land outgrow their water-based relatives, says Elizabeth Hadly of Stanford University in California. Hadley and her colleagues examined almost 3,000 salamander vertebrae from the park’s Lamar Cave in Wyoming.

The difference is particularly pronounced in the warmest period of Yellowstone’s history, between 1,150 and 650 years ago, the researchers add. Hotter conditions allow for more abundant food and faster growth rates, they suspect, and such effects are expected to be less marked in the water, where temperature changes are smaller.

Global warming = bigger salamanders.

Let’s just say climate change = altered salamanders.

Shall I compare thee …

Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer’s lease hath all too short a date:
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimm’d;
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance, or nature’s changing course, untrimm’d;
But thy eternal summer shall not fade
Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow’st;
Nor shall Death brag thou wander’st in his shade,
When in eternal lines to time thou grow’st;
So long as men can breathe or eyes can see,
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.